Anyone else doing Christmas on very tight budget?

Discussion in 'Countryside Families' started by BeckyW, Dec 6, 2006.

  1. BeckyW

    BeckyW Well-Known Member

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    For us it's less than $200 this year and 5 to shop for. And you know what, I'm not feeling guilty!

    This has been a year when we lavished our college/high school children with fabulous blessings (wonderful trips, concert-grade musical instruments, etc) and frankly we don't have any extra for Christmas (not that we've ever spent alot on Christmas gifts - seems like there was never much in the budget!)

    So Christmas is going to be very simple. I'm trying though to come up with something fun - a special activity or something - that removes the focus from opening presents and makes a happy memory. There is a very real possibility that this might be our last Christmas with all the family together for a while.

    Any ideas? Thank you for sharing.
    BW
     
  2. mamabear

    mamabear Well-Known Member

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    Hi Becky,
    I was coming on here to post the exact same thing.
    In case anyone is wondering, I'm using a free computer, since I don't have money for internet right now. This has been a big year for us. We moved onto our land at the end of August. The three of us are living in a small camper while we are building our 896 sf. house. We don't have room for a tree this Christmas.
    Normally I would have my Christmas gifts all finished by the middle of the year, but everything has went into the move and the house. Our oldest will be home on leave for Christmas, so that will be four of us home. I sent a few small gifts to our middle son who is in Iraq. Now trying to figure out what to get my other two sons and DH is really wearing on me. I've never given extravagant gifts, but I've always given something. I have about $50, so any ideas that someone can help Becky and I with will be most appreciated.
    mamabear

    PS I don't want anyone to think I'm doing the poor me thing. I'm actually feeling that we are very blessed. My DH survived a near fatal accident in February, my sons are all okay, and we finally did get to move on our land. So hurrah for blessings!
     

  3. ladycat

    ladycat Chicken Mafioso Staff Member

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    I have ZERO for Christmas this year :Bawling:
     
  4. WildernesFamily

    WildernesFamily Milk Maid

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    Becky,

    We're on an even tighter budget with more people to shop for.. but we make a lot of gifts so that helps. You know what? Having less money makes each gift more special because it's more carefully thought out I think. Anyway.

    A suggestion for an activity for your family:

    Create a games basket for your family to open Christmas day, and spend the morning/afternoon/evening playing games together.

    Some suggestions:

    Cards - all types
    Settlers of Catan you will need the expansion pack for more than 4 players. Really good game, read the reviews on amazon.com (but buy from the above store, MUCH cheaper!)
    Ticket to Ride previously suggested by another poster (I forget who.) Great game!

    Include cookies, caramel popcorn, hot chocolate, etc. in the basket and just enjoy it together as a family.

    Depending on the age of your kids.. to make the gift basket really memorable turn it into a treasure hunt - wrap up the first clue in a small box and then add additional clues all over the house that lead to the gift.

    HTH, I'm looking forward to everyone else's suggestions!

    ~ Jane
     
  5. mamabear

    mamabear Well-Known Member

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    Oohh, Jane!
    Games are a great idea! I haven't thought about them. I was really trying to think of some things we could do more of as a family. My youngest has his confounded video games and my DH likes his TV, but I miss our time that we used to spend playing games and sitting around a fire outside.
    Hhmm, maybe cut some logs for the fire ring. Wrap one to give. :rolleyes:
    Have y'all ever made coupons to give for things such as backrubs or one "get out of chore" cards? I was wondering how those were received.
    mamabear
     
  6. landmoswalt

    landmoswalt Well-Known Member

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    I am with you all. I will be able to only make the house payment in December and buy food for my family to eat. No extra money to buy Christmas. My DH was disabled in April and I am the only one making the money. We live on a small 6 acre farm with all our animals and we are blessed to have them all. Our nubians will be having babies in Feb. so we will start milking and the kids are excited about that. So we will just spend time together and count all our blessings. All of us are healthy, my father is finally cancer free, and we have a roof over our heads. I would like to know about homemade gifts for teenagers if anyone has any ideas. Lori
     
  7. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I was also going to suggest games. My family has a tradition of playing Scrabble at Thanksgiving and we all look forward to it very much. When my kids were small I would buy a new game each Christmas for them to open on Christmas Eve (along with a new pair of PJs each). We'd get our jammies on and play their new game. It was a wonderful Christmas Eve tradition.

    The coupon idea is great too. My kids have made those for me and it's lots of fun.

    Homemade gifts for teenagers? Knitted caps for boys, blue jean purses for girls? This year I am making pillows for my nieces and nephew out of bibs from my Daddy's old overalls and his flannel shirts. He died in '05 so I know these will be very special to the kids.
     
  8. freeinalaska

    freeinalaska Well-Known Member

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    Hi BeckyW, Every Christmas is a tight budget for us. With six kids it just adds up quick. Between airline tickets for our daughter in school out of state and college tuition payments we start the season short. We are just not going to worry about it. Gifts are not the reason for the season. We plan to give each kid two gifts each, one from the heart and one of neccessity. By necessity I mean like our oldest son needs a new battery for his truck or one daughter needs snow boots. I hope you have a happy Christmas.
     
  9. MaineFarmMom

    MaineFarmMom Columnist, Feature Writer

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    I have a couple of MyPoints accounts. That helps with gift certificates for stocking stuffers. Other than a couple of things for our daughters I make the gifts we give. This year we're giving baskets (which I will buy) filled with homemade breads (rye, white wholewheat, oatmeal), jams, maple butter (room temp butter, mix in real maple syrup), herbed butter and muffins or a quick bread.
     
  10. connie in nm

    connie in nm Well-Known Member

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    If your children are older, one of our favorite and cherished tradtions is working on a jigsaw puzzle together. In fact, a few of the men are apt to stay up all night to finish it! You can pick them up very inexpensively if you look. We have even found them at Tractor Supply!

    Merry Christmas everyone.
     
  11. cricket

    cricket Well-Known Member

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    Make ornaments or wreaths out of natural stuff you find around the farm. If there is any construction around, go pilfer (after getting permission) some scrap plywood or whatever and paint cute signs or make natural diaromas with "found" items. Make homemade paper out of trash paper like newspaper...Bet you can get someone to give you their's. Homemade treats are great bvut still require money to do. If you don't have money for groceries, you can't make things like cookies or jams. Contact your local "charity" and see if they've had any donations of yarn if you knit or crochet. You can also make soap if you can find lye; I've seen some good recipies without it though. Often soap can be made very cheaply. Just some ideas...
     
  12. Dente deLion

    Dente deLion Well-Known Member

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    I love Jane's treasure hunt idea!

    How about cheap T-shirts decorated with fabric paints or maybe embroidery - just something small but special, like a heart or a flower or a name. It would probably work with socks, too - and then you could be very silly and fun with the decoration, if you do it where it'll be covered by a shoe!

    You could write something for them - anything from a goofy poem to a heartfelt "Top 10 Things I Love About You" - in fact, writing a long "family poem" together could be great fun! Maybe start with family legends or those funny memories that seem to be recalled over and over again. Or start with a standard like "Night Before Christmas" and change the words so there's a stanza about each person in the family.
     
  13. DW

    DW plains of Colorado Supporter

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    I start gifts the day after xmas but still need to shop for son & hubby. We've never had money so nothing new. An idea for teenagers is fleece scarfs. They had some funky ones at JoAnns that you just cut...I think they were $1 or $2. Big Lots had fleece blankets for $3...I sewed a trim on diagonal on one corner to make it different.
     
  14. celina

    celina Well-Known Member

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    for teens , his very very favorite treat just for him....sugary cereal or favorite cookies bought or homemade...pop.....you can make a very nice basket for 10$ and its consumable.....its all his......maybe add a toothbrush and paste for all the sugar and some tylenol for mom...lol
     
  15. Mama McJack

    Mama McJack happy homekeeper

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    We are having our most-frugal-Christmas ever, and I am even more excited about Christmas than I usually am. I didn't even have money to bargain-shop, so I have been crocheting with yarn that was given to me (scarfs, hats, a purse), baking from simple recipes, etc., things that take more time than money. We also took a family picture with our own camera and had 5x7 prints made (I think they cost 39 cents each) and then I found decent looking frames for $1 apiece. We have 8 people to give those to, and I also crocheted dishcloths to go with them that only cost me some time since the cotton yarn I used was given to me. I love to crochet, so while my time is valuable, I enjoyed doing it! I've also been picking up little things at the grocery store for my kids' stockings for the past couple of months...so I have a little stash of stocking-stuffers that didn't impact our budget because I worked them into the grocery fund. Christmas has been fun to prepare for this year!
    Mama McJack
     
  16. FarmGoddess

    FarmGoddess Well-Known Member

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    I know I'm going to get accused of being a tightwad again, but oh well. I'm tired of buying presents and not even getting a thank you in return. Fortunatly, I have small neices and nephews who are into quanity, and I can get them a stocking filled with all sorts of goodies for under 10 bucks each. The Dollar Tree is my Christmas shopping headquarters this year.

    Also, for the little girls, I'm downloading and printing out lots of paper dolls. I loved paper dolls as a kid, and you can't find them in the stores anymore but there are lots of freebies available.

    As for some of the adults, I've got lots of pictures to print out and then frame, once again, frames from the Dollar Tree.

    I also do homemade ornaments for all the kiddies with their name and the year on them...

    My fabric stash is also coming in handy. One of my sisters was complaining that she couldn't find a flannel nightgown. I ran one up with the flannel I have on hand in about an hour. I also raided my stash for polar fleece to make my nephews a robe each...

    I'm not working now so I have time to be creative. Or cheap, depending on how you want to look at it...

    :D :D :D
     
  17. Wildwood Flower

    Wildwood Flower Halfway, OR & Wagoner, OK

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    You guys are all really inspiring. When I was growing up Christmas was really lean--just like the rest of the year. But my mother made it so nice, just by setting the atmosphere...candlelight and Christmas carols playing, a nice casserole and maybe some fudge and cookies. And we also did crossword puzzles, which was a big deal to get a new one.

    Don't forget to light a fire in the fireplace too. Oh, and a visit from Santa Claus! ...especially if you have even one little one.
     
  18. Madame

    Madame Well-Known Member Supporter

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    This wouldn't work with kids, but maybe adults...my sis and I are teaching each other - she'll teach me to bake bread w/out a breadmaker and I'll teach her to knit. We both learn something new and have time to enjoy each other's company.

    My sil bakes cookies every year and that is her gift to us all. They're good - but I didn't get any last year because my dd ate them all!

    I often knit something to give, and one very frugal year I used scrap fabric and wheat berries and made little hot pads for everyone.
     
  19. FarmGoddess

    FarmGoddess Well-Known Member

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    Question, where do you get wheat berries? I want to make a neck and shoulder wrap. I"ve got lots of flannel, but no wheat berries....

    :hobbyhors :hobbyhors :hobbyhors
     
  20. Ninn

    Ninn Custom Crochet Queen

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